Terrestrial Plant Life Since artificial uv radiation does not match the natural variety, it is difficult to do controlled scientific experiments which clarify the effects of uv radiation on plant life. Some terrestrial plants seem to be more sensitive than others. Some species that appear particularly sensitive are barley, oats, sweet corn, soybeans, peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots. Food production decreases about 1% for each 1% increase in uvb. However, within these plant species, some species have varieties that appear to be more resistant. About 45% of trees appear to be sensitive to uv increases. Photo: Courtesy of www.arttoday.com.
Phytoplankton Phytoplankton are algae at the bottom of the oceanic food chain. Besides being food for fish, they are a sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide and also release dimethyl sulfoxide into the air, a substance important for cloud formation. Phytoplankton generally are present just below the ocean surface, so they do not benefit much from the attenuation of uv radiation in water. Image: Courtesy of GSFC/NASA.
Both uva and uvb inhibit phytoplankton photosynthesis. In the vicinity of the ozone hole, a 6% to 12% decrease in productivity has been noted during the 10 to 12 weeks of the antarctic spring. Averaged annually, this comes to about a 2% decrease. Although this decrease is relatively small, the overall implications for ocean ecology are unknown.
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